Slack and Music Keep Dan Manian Busy On Both Coasts

Photo cred: Paul Sauer

Have you ever wondered what it’s like to be a digital nomad, or someone that works remotely? Work Anywhere is our new series featuring people who do not work in regular offices but spend their time in coffee shops or co-working spaces instead; it will focus on their inspiring lifestyle and day-to-day life.

Our first profile is Dan Manian, Co-Founder of Donut. Donut is a Slack bot that helps teams build relationships by introducing people who don’t know each other well for coffee, lunch, or donuts. The entire Donut team is on Slack all day, which is the primary way they communicate.

Jessica, Co-Founder of GoGoGuest, met Dan when they were both working from Chai Bar by David Rio (our first merchant using our WiFi guest services and marketing solutions). They chatted about everything from startup life to what tools they use with their teams. The chance to be able to connect with amazing people from different fields is one of many reasons to work from a coffee shop.

Dan with his bass when he met Jessica at Chai Bar

Living in the Two Most Inspiring Cities: New York and San Francisco

If you saw Dan flying between New York City and San Francisco with the lightest new 12-inch MacBook, you’d probably think Dan is just another busy business traveler, but not Dan. As a Co-Founder of Donut, the lifestyle he chooses is almost like a dream come true to most of us, living bi-coastally and working remotely.

Dan travels light when flying between NY and SF

His love for both cities is so strong that he cannot give up on either one because they both represent periods of his life and have had a tremendous impact on him. Having grown up in downtown Manhattan and relocated to SF after college, Dan has a blend of a New Yorker’s sharp thinking and a Californian’s laidback personality.

Passion for Music Never Stops

Aside from being a successful Product leader and entrepreneur, music is also a huge part of his life. He has been playing bass for 20 years, and is always ready for the next gig — whether in NY or SF. He’s the bassist in bands in NY and SF, including Will Weston, Mobile Steam Unit, and Cyril Guiraud American Quartet. Being a musician may not be his primary source for a living, but his passion never fades.

Dan performing with Will Weston in San Francisco Photo cred: Paul Sauer

Life before Donut

Before Dan founded Donut, he started his career as a mechanical engineer, and then went into product management after earning his M.S. at Stanford University, and later an M.B.A. at UC Berkeley and Columbia University. He has also worked with Steve Blank on his Lean LaunchPad course at a variety of schools including Stanford, UC Berkeley, and UCSF. He now teaches his own course at Brown University as well.

After ten years of experience building product and design teams, and coaching startup teams, he decided to found Donut.

What is Donut?

To simply say, Donut helps people get to know their coworkers, team, and company better. The idea was from his experience working at and with startups over the course of his career. He noticed that culture often gets neglected when companies are rapidly scaling, and employee engagement suffers, especially when companies hire remote employees. He believes that human connection with your team is important to your company’s success, and that people do their best work when they are happy and engaged. He built Donut to make it easier than ever to connect with everyone working around you.

Photo from

Who’s Next on Work Anywhere?

Photo from Alexander‘s LinkedIn profile

Our next profile on Work Anywhere is Alexander Pihlainen, the CMO at Slush which is a non-profit event organized by a community of entrepreneurs, investors, students, and industry experts. Jessica met Alexander also at the Chai Bar (how amazing is it that you can always have the chance to connect with amazing people at coffee shop while co-working?) We usually upload a new post every Thursday so stay tuned!

Share Your Remote Work Experience With Us

Are you a digital nomad or you simply love to get your work done while enjoying a good coffee at coffee shops? Become our writer and share with us your amazing experience of working out of coffee shops! For more information, please contact with a link to your Medium blog post and what you would like to write.

Feel free to leave comment and let us know how you think about the new series, or share your thoughts with us via Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

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About GoGoGuest

GoGoGuest is a modern guest services and marketing solution focused on elevating customer quality and experience in the Third Place including coffee shops, tea bars and the co-working spaces to start.

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